Canada and Australia said that they will support the bid of Mexico's central bank governor Agustin Carstens to be the next IMF managing director.
A statement late Friday from Canadian Finance Minister James Flaherty and Australian Finance Minister Wayne Swan said that the two countries will support the long-shot bid by the 53-year-old Mexican economist, who worked at the International Monetary Fund from 2003 to 2006.
Carstens’s previous experience, which include a stint in the number-three position as the IMF's deputy managing director, "equip him very well to understand and address, on a collaborative and inclusive basis with IMF member countries, the challenges faced by the global economy," the joint statement read.
"Accordingly, after due consideration of the candidates and the IMF selection criteria, we have decided to support him for the position of IMF managing director," read the statement.
Carstens faces stiff competition from French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, seen as the clear frontrunner to succeed managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned May 18 to fight sexual assault charges in New York.
Lagarde has the backing of Europe, which holds seven of the 24 seats on the executive board, and the board hopes to select the new managing director by consensus.
Under a tacit agreement between the United States and Europe, the leadership of the IMF has always gone to a European, while the top job at the World Bank has always gone to an American.
The United States, the largest IMF stakeholder with nearly 17 percent of the vote, has not publicly endorsed either Lagarde or Carstens, considered an emerging-market candidate.
"It is important that the new IMF managing director be selected in an open and transparent process with the candidate chosen on the basis of merit and not nationality," read the Canadian-Australian statement.